For the first time since the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, a delegation of household workers met in the White House yesterday to talk with Carter administration officials about economic justice for themselves.
"We've never been here before to talk to any President," said Dorothy Bolden, one of the six-person group. ". . . This is a president who said he was elected by the plain people and we can't be any plainer than household workers."
They did not get to talk to President Carter, but they may, if they ask for it, got some help from one of the people who is closest to him. His mother, Miss Lillian, is an honorary chairman of their Georgia organizations, Bolden said.
The National Committee on Household Employment, one of the few groups remaining from the great 1960s emphasis on organizing the poor, estimates that 1.5 million women are engaged in domestic work - at an average annual wage of only $2,929.
Six members of NCHE met for an hour yesterday with Midge Costanza, one of Carter's special assistants, and for an additional hour with representatives of the Labor Department and the Domestic Policy Staff asked by Costanza to attend.
They presented requests to be covered by unemployment insurance and workmen's compensation, to have minimum wage laws enforced, and for national health insurance.
"I truly believe it's a problem of enforcement, they are not even getting minimum wages now," said Costanza afterwards.
"It's difficult for them to unionize to organize. They can't make demands like other employees because then they lose their jobs.
"What they are saying is there is no one who will listen to us . . . we don't get fringe benefits, we don't get minimum wage, and there's nobody we can talk about it with."